MENU

HOME

DAILY BRIEF

JIHAD JOE

SOURCEBOOKS

J.M. BERGER

RECENT WORK

MULTIFACETED MEDIA GROUP

LINKS

Blogs of War

Flashpoint

Gunpowder & Lead

Internet Haganah

Jihadology

Jihadica

Long War Journal

Making Sense of Jihad

Registan

Selected Wisdom

Views from the Occident

Waq-Al-Waq

TAGS

American Terrorists

Anwar Awlaki

Al Qaeda

AQAP

American Al Qaeda Members

Inspire Magazine

Revolution Muslim

OKBOMB


News, analysis and primary source documents on terrorism, extremism and national security.


Saturday, March 22, 2008
 

The Perils of Awakening

I've been wondering for some time just what U.S. authorities think the Awakening Councils will get up to once we leave Iraq. Unfortunately, I may have been too optimistic in assuming that the Sunni groups -- recruited by us for their anti-Al Qaeda tendencies -- were a potential problem for after we leave. An apparently serious U.S. misstep today may change that calculus.

Obviously, there are some things to like about the development of Sunni groups who wish to aid the U.S. in fighting al Qaeda. Just like there were things to like about the development of jihadist groups who wished to help us fight the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the 1980s. You remember how that worked out.

The Awakening Councils -- trained, armed and empowered by the Iraqi government and our own -- have evolved into an ad hoc army with between 60,000 and 100,000 members. Their prima facie purpose is to expel al Qaeda from Iraq. But that's not a mission statement and it's not a philosophy, it's simply a task.

There are two risks involved with this task-oriented approach. First, there's the risk they will succeed. We have an obvious interest in their success, of course, but once the task is accomplished, we find ourselves with a 100,000 strong Sunni army in the middle of a Shi'ite dominated political scene. Given the sectarian situation in Iraq over the last four years, it's not hard to guess what could happen next.

The second risk should be apparent after today's news that the U.S. military may have inadvertently bombed an Awakening checkpoint, killing six. It's difficult to estimate the political ramifications of this development. We can -- and should -- hope that it will taken as an unfortunate accident, which it almost certainly was.

Realistically, however, there is a significant chance it will be taken another way. The fragile Awakening alliance could split into pro- and anti-American camps. Or the majority of the alliance could turn against U.S. influence. In a worst-case (but probably unlikely) scenario, al Qaeda could exploit the situation to win back some of the support it has lost.

Hopefully, this is an unduly pessimistic view. But the complexity of the situation in Iraq continues to outpace our ability to analyze it. On the bright side, whatever ensues from this incident will probably help us get a better view of exactly where we stand with the Awakening Councils and (to a certain, limited extent) what we can expect from them down the road.

Labels: ,


     



 

Tweets referencing this post:

loading..




OSINT on Terrorism and Extremism, Social Media Monitoring, Analysis and Strategies | Read More...



RESOURCES


Book: Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam (Reviews)

E-Book: Beatings and Bureaucracy: The Founding Memos of Al Qaeda

E-Book: Interview online jihadist Abu Suleiman Al Nasser (Abridged)

Sourcebook: The 9/11 Investigation (coming soon)

Sourcebook: Al Qaeda in America

Sourcebook: Ali Mohamed

Sourcebook: Gitmo Detainees

Sourcebook: Siege at Mecca

Sourcebook: Islamic Extremism in Egypt

Sourcebook: The Sadat Assassination

ALERTS

JIHAD JOE

Jihad Joe by J.M. BergerJihad Joe: Americans Who Go To War In The Name Of Islam, the new book by INTELWIRE's J.M. Berger, is now available in both Kindle and hardcover editions. Order today!

Jihad Joe is the first comprehensive history of the American jihadist movement, from 1979 through the present. Click here to read more about the critical acclaim Jihad Joe has earned so far, including from the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, Redstate.com and many more.

RECENT

Newest posts!

New Documents Tighten Net Around Additional OKBOMB...

National Security Letters And More

9/11 Commission, FBI Source Documents, Chronologic...

9/11 Commission, FBI Source Documents, Chronologic...

9/12/2001: FBI Chicago, timeline of investigation,...

9/12/2001: FBI Chicago, timeline of investigation,...

Zarqawi Mentor Maqdisi Free Again

The Anwar Aulaqi Files

2001-09-15: FBI FD-302, Interrogation of Anwar Aul...

2001-09-15: FBI FD-302, Interrogation of Anwar Aul...

NEWS NOW

EXCLUSIVES


New York Pipe Bomb Suspect Linked to Revolution Muslim

The Utility of Lone Wolves

Interview with Online Jihadist Abu Suleiman Al Nasser

A Way Forward for CVE: The Five Ds

How Terrorists Use The Internet: Just Like You

PATCON: The FBI's Secret War on the Militia Movement

Interview About Jihad With Controversial Cleric Bilal Philips

Forgeries on the Jihadist Forums

U.S. Gave Millions To Charity Linked To Al Qaeda, Anwar Awlaki

State Department Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheikh

State Department Put 'Political Pressure' On FBI To Deport Brother-in-Law Of Osama Bin Laden In 1995

FBI Records Reveal Details Of Nixon-Era Racial Profiling Program Targeting Arabs

Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia War

U.S. Had 'High Confidence' Of UBL Attack In June 2001

Behind the Handshake: The Rumsfeld-Saddam Meeting